Lewis Hamilton welcomes Valtteri Bottas but it's 'business as usual'

    Lewis Hamilton (left) could face another close rivalry with new Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.

    Story highlights

    • Hamilton welcomes Bottas to Mercedes
    • "Business as usual" for Hamilton - Andretti
    • Bottas will win races, predict peers

    (CNN)Lewis Hamilton took to social media this week to welcome his new Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.

    Mercedes announced its new driver Monday to replace reigning world champion Nico Rosberg, who made a shock decision to retire after beating Hamilton to the 2016 Formula One title.
      Hamilton posted a message on Twitter saying simply: "Welcome to the Team, Valtteri!"
      But will the three-time champion be so friendly in the heat of competition?
      "For Lewis, it will be business as usual," Mario Andretti, the sport's 1978 world champion, told CNN. "No matter who is going to be his teammate and his biggest adversary, he's still going to go for it.
      "I feel that Lewis is really enjoying where he is right now and the position he's in."


      Hamilton may have lost the 2016 world title by just five points to Rosberg, but he finished the season strongly by winning the final four races of the year in the US, Mexico, Brazil and Abu Dhabi.
      The 2017 season, which begins in Australia on March 26, brings a new generation of cars and technical rules but Hamilton and Mercedes are still strong favorites to set the pace.
      Ice fishing with the Flying Finn
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        Ice fishing with the Flying Finn


      Ice fishing with the Flying Finn 04:11
      That means there is a real chance for Finland's Bottas to unleash his potential and show whether he can threaten Hamilton's title hopes.
      Three-time world champion Jackie Stewart believes the 27-year-old Bottas could surprise Hamilton.
      "He's still relatively inexperienced but he's a very talented racing driver and he's got a very good head on his shoulders," Stewart told CNN.
      "It's not just about being able to drive fast. It's mind management and I think he's got that."

      'New race winner'

      Bottas has taken nine podiums during four years with the Williams team, in an era of Mercedes dominance. Hamilton might also be interested to learn that since joining F1 Bottas has also out-scored his teammate every season.
      The Finn's peers also expect him to finally "break his duck" and drive to his first grand prix victory in 2017.
      Five memorable moments from The Circuit 2016
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        Five memorable moments from The Circuit 2016


      Five memorable moments from The Circuit 2016 02:52
      "He'll win a race, or races, definitely," Renault Sport driver Jolyon Palmer predicted. "We'll have a new race winner and maybe someone new at the top."
      Esteban Gutierrez, who raced for the American Haas F1 team last season, agreed, saying: "Yes, he will do it.
      "I know Valtteri very well. We were teammates in Formula 3 in 2009 and we were very close in the last few years.
      "It's a great opportunity and he deserves it. It's a great combination for Mercedes."